Thursday, 2 October 2014

M&S Full on Flavour Worcester Sauce

Another tasty crisp from the ever reliable Full on Flavour range. Available at a Marks & Spencer near you. Provided you live in a country where M&S sell food.

These are rather large crisps for the most part, with a large flavour and a big crunch. In fact, the flavour could be described as enormous!

Of course Worcester Sauce itself has a huge flavour. Most people use it a few drops at a time. Well, I never use it at all but the Chef puts it in his shepherd's pie all the time. Only a few drops.

So these crisps with the great big flavour are made with Worcester Sauce then? Well, no. Not exactly because that's actually called Worcestershire Sauce even though many people including me lazily call it Worcester Sauce.

And for those of you ignorant of English geography, Worcestershire is a county in the West Midlands and Worcester is the cathedral city on the river Severn. This part of England was once part of the Anglo Saxon Kingdom of Mercia. What exciting things you can learn when reading about crisps, eh? Don't even get me started on how J R R Tolkien apparently used the Mercian dialect as the language of the Kingdom of Rohan.

Anyway, the super-helpful Wikipedia tells me that Worcestershire Sauce is a fermented condiment and draws allusions to the rather horrible-sounding garum (fermented fish sauce) that the ancient Greeks, Romans and Byzantines used to flavour a lot of their food. There was another sauce called liquamen that sounds almost nastier; something about the name perhaps? I saw a Roman dinner reproduced on TV many years ago and a bunch of archaeologists brought in as taste testers: only one person would eat the pears in garum. Yum! fruit served with fermented fish sauce. Perhaps not.

The recipe of Worcestershire Sauce is a closely guarded secret but a glance at the label of a bottle of Lea & Perrins - the leading UK brand - will tell you it includes anchovies and tamarind extract. And it is thought that the ingredients include onions, garlic, cloves, soy, lemons, picks, peppers, malt vinegar, molasses, sugar and salt. Complicated then.

This is a much simpler recipe but it does make for a very tasty crisp which I recommend if you are into big flavours. The silver bag is excitingly shiny if that makes a difference.

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